Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

TikTok affirms that its staff can determine what goes viral

Forbes has confirmed with TikTok that some US-based workers have the authority to boost videos in order to “bring famous and budding artists to the TikTok community.” The claim is part of a larger story regarding TikTok’s “Heating” button, which Forbes claims may be used to place selected movies into users’ For You pages, increasing views by going around the algorithm that is intended to drive the TikTok experience.

According to Forbes, TikTok’s spokeswoman Jamie Favazza said that heating isn’t done only to drive more views to specific videos. In addition, he claimed, TikTok will “push select videos to help diversity the content experience” (i.e., to ensure that your feed isn’t made up completely of one or two trends). Favazza claims that only.002% of videos in For You streams are intense, further implying that TikTok doesn’t do it very often. However, Forbes reports that “approximately 1-2 percent of total daily video views” are of contentious videos.

Creators and companies might feel like they’re winning on TikTok because of the platform’s popularity.

A mark indicating that a video has been promoted by TikTok, like adverts or sponsored posts, is not included with heated videos, the research claims. They seem like random videos the algorithm could have picked for you.

That this happened isn’t exactly shocking. Companies, notably in the music industry, have made no secret of utilising TikTok to promote their brands, despite years of rumours that TikTok utilised the promise of promoted content to encourage politicians and corporations to use its platform.

TikTok isn’t the only social media platform that might artificially promote content. To tempt advertisers and media firms, Facebook reportedly showed exaggerated view numbers and didn’t change it immediately away. (A lawsuit over the matter resulted in a $40 million settlement.) Although this isn’t an identical situation (TikTok videos do appear to gain legitimate views, even if they don’t become viral organically), it may have a similar effect: users may have unrealistic expectations of how successful they’ll be on the platform.

This also implies that TikTok is playing favourites in terms of which creators and companies are shown on users’ For You pages. Forbes reports that there have been cases of inappropriate information being shared on company social media accounts, including films shared by friends, business partners, and even the company’s own workers.

TikTok’s lack of transparency about heating makes it difficult to identify which films rose to the top naturally, which might cause creators to lose interest if their videos underperform compared to those that are being pushed.